January 25, 2005

Portrait of Ida Noyes vanishes without a trace

A gold-framed portrait of Ida Noyes, approximately three by six feet, was discovered missing on Saturday, January 22. ORSCA facilities managers and service workers at Ida Noyes Hall noticed over the weekend that the painting of the building's namesake, which hung in the first floor library, had disappeared before the International Food Festival that day.

"We believe that it disappeared sometime between Friday night and Saturday," said Timothy Banks, the associate director of Facilities and Event Services for ORCSA at Ida Noyes. Banks, however, was not at Ida Noyes when staff noticed that the painting had vanished and could not elaborate, as campus authorities had no definitive information to report.

"At this point, there's not a whole lot to talk about, because we don't know all the facts yet," Banks said. "Facilities managers and facilities service workers discovered that the painting was missing on Saturday afternoon, but as to when it did disappear, we don't know everything yet."

All parties involved—except the thief—were baffled, with ORSCA staff saying they did not know much about the disappearance nor did they understand why someone would take the painting.

Staff at Ida Noyes reported the disappearance to University Police on Saturday. According to Rudy Nimocks, the executive director for UCPD, the University Police are treating the disappearance as a theft.

"From what facilities staff managers said, they believe that the painting was stolen in between 2 and 8 a.m. that Saturday morning," Nimocks said. "We were alerted that the painting was missing at around 2 p.m. and came there around 2 to 2:45 p.m."

During the academic year, Ida Noyes Hall is open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. weekdays, although the Pub, located in its basement, is open from 4:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

"We are following the reports that the staff gave us, and we are investigating the report," Nimocks said, although he added there were no leads.

Ida Noyes was born Ida Elizabeth Smith. A Chicago socialite, she married La Verne Noyes, a wealthy inventor and industrialist. After her death in 1912, her husband donated money to the University of Chicago for the construction of a "women's social center and gymnasium," as his late wife's philanthropic interests included promoting numerous women's clubs and artistic societies. The hall's cornerstone was laid April 17, 1915. Noyes donated a portrait of his late wife, painted by Oliver Dennett Grover, after the building's construction.